Shootout in Mexico’s Embattled Jalisco State Leaves 8 Dead

May 21, 2015

5/20/2015 InSight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitA shootout between Mexico‘s federal police and alleged criminals has left at least eight dead in Jalisco state, in what could be a harbinger of more violence as security forces intensify their offensive against the Jalisco Cartel.

The gunfight took place on May 18 in the municipality of Villa Purificacion, the same town where the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) shot down a military helicopter using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher (RPG) earlier this month, reported Reuters.

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Fragmenting Criminal Gangs: Mexico Follows Colombia

May 19, 2015

5/18/2015 InSight Crime

InSightLogo_main_24bitMexico’s security situation is looking increasingly like that of Colombia several years ago —  indicating that it might be possible to predict the future of Mexico‘s criminal groups based on what Colombia’s underworld is like now.

A new report by El Universal outlines how each of Mexico‘s largest criminal organizations has fractured in recent years, due to the capture or killing of high-profile leaders, as well as internal rivalries.

The report, based on information from Mexico‘s Attorney General’s Office (PGR), states that there are nine cartels now operating in the country, and an additional 45 criminal cells that work for these larger organizations, carrying out activities ranging from gasoline theft to extortion to kidnapping. These numbers were previously obtained from the PGR last year by Mexican newspaper Excelsior.

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Drug Cartel Violence Flares Again in Northern Mexico State

April 24, 2015

Reuters, 4/23/2015

gun - crime sceneDrug cartel violence in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state flared up for the second time in a week on Wednesday, with gun battles and arson attacks erupting in the street after police captured four alleged drug gang members.

The detainees, whose identity is still unknown, are from the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest drug trafficking groups, also known for kidnappings and immigrant trafficking.

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NEW PUBLICATION: Violence and Insecurity in Guerrero

February 5, 2015

By Chris Kyle

Resilient Communities Series15This paper is a continuation of the series Building Resilient Communities in Mexico: Civic Responses to Crime and Violence, a multiyear effort by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego to analyze the obstacles to and opportunities for improving citizen security in Mexico.

Insecurity and violence associated with organized criminal activity are pervasive in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero.  The state’s homicide rate is the highest in the country and extortion and kidnapping are commonplace.  For perpetrators, there is near complete impunity.  The state is divided into territories within which either drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) or community policing networks exercise control over local policing functions.  Local, state, or federal authorities occasionally join this competition, but for the most part policing powers are held by others.  In rural areas competition between groups of traffickers over the state’s prodigious narcotics output has created violent no-man’s-lands in buffer zones between territories controlled by rival groups.  In cities violence is mostly a byproduct of efforts to establish and preserve monopolies in extortion, kidnapping, and retail contraband markets.  Despite claims to the contrary by state and federal authorities, there has been no discernible improvement in public security in recent months or years.

Restraining the violence in Guerrero will require that state authorities make a systematic effort to address two existing realities that sustain the criminal activities producing violence.  Thus, this paper examines the security situation in the state of Guerrero, including the operation of drug trafficking organizations, and proposes possible solutions to the security crisis.

Read the paper here.


New Report Examines Tamaulipas Security Strategy

February 2, 2015

1/27/2015 InSight Crime

A report from a prominent think tank tackles the new security strategy in Tamaulipas, one of Mexico‘s perennially conflictive northern states. 

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute published Plan Tamaulipas: A New Security Strategy for a Troubled State in October of last year. Written by Christopher Wilson and Eugenio Weigend, the report analyzes a new security program launched by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government in May 2014.

The new strategy came amid a period of prolonged conflict between the two major criminal groups controlling the region, allies turned enemies the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel. The plan for Tamaulipas is based on three pillars: the dismantling of existing criminal groups; the elimination of smuggling routes, whether for cash and arms coming into Mexico or for drugs and undocumented migrants heading to the US; and the construction of “sufficient, efficient, and reliable” security agencies at the local level.

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Read the report here. 


In Mexico, History is Repeating Itself

January 16, 2015

By Tim Padgett, 1/15/2015

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

When Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto visited President Obama on Jan. 6, hundreds of Mexican Americans demonstrated outside the White House. Hundreds more picketed at Mexican consulates across the U.S. It was an unusual display of solidarity with Mexicans south of the border, who have taken to the streets almost daily since September—when 43 college students were massacred by narco-gangsters—to denounce corruption and violence in their country.

Peña Nieto’s approval rating, which hovered above 60 percent two years ago, has plummeted into the 30s as marchers call for his resignation. That’s a dramatic fall considering how ardently U.S. and international boosters lionized him when he took office in December 2012. Then, it seemed like every financial gazette on the planet was declaring Peña Nieto’s Mexico “the Aztec Tiger.” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said it was poised to become a “more dominant economic power in the 21st century” than China.

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Obama Pledges Mexico’s Pena Nieto Drugs Support

January 9, 2015

1/6/2015 BBC News

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoPresident Barack Obama has promised the US will stand alongside Mexico in its fight against drug-related violence.

The vow came after talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto in the White House, in which the two discussed the recent disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

The US president said his country would be a “good partner” to its neighbour in the fight against drugs and associated problems.

“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and drug cartels that are responsible for so many tragedies inside of Mexico,” he said.

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